Danny Nelson, C (49th overall, 2023)
Drafted from the USNTDP in the second round, the Islanders hope they found their top-6 center of the future in Danny Nelson. Nelson played third-line minutes on a stacked USA roster behind Will Smith and Oliver Moore, both first-round picks. Nelson will attend Notre Dame this season for his freshman campaign, where it will be interesting to see how his game fares against a more mature opposition every night.
Not only does he have the same last name, but his frame and skill set is similar to Brock Nelson. He stands 6'3" and plays a two-way game with offensive upside.
Trailing 2-0 in the Gold Medal game in the 2023 U-18 World Championship to Sweden, Nelson cut the deficit to one halfway through the third period as it seemed to change the tide for the Americans, as they came back to claim victory in overtime. Nelson has a knack for stepping up in big moments when his team needs him the most.
As the Islanders lack high-end draft picks, Nelson is considered the Isles' top prospect by many and deservingly so. It was thought he'd be drafted in the first round, with the early second round being the latest. He'll now look to prove all the teams who passed on him wrong, looking to leave a lasting image before heading to South Bend for the NCAA season.
UPDATE: Nelson and other current NCAA prospects will not be attending camp.